We know some guys who make their own stocks, and others who do their own chambering. But consider this, Robert Carnell of Australia built his own state-of-the-art, water-cooled, tension-barrel Rail Gun, even including the action. That’s right, Robert even made his own action. Wow, this has to be the ultimate home gunsmithing, do-it-yourself project.
Carnell is an accomplished benchrest shooter and past Australian Sporter Class Champion. In 1993 he won a Silver Medal at the World Championships. But Carnell is far more than an ace trigger-puller. Robert is a skilled and creative “home gunsmith” who has crafted his own custom action and built his own railguns from scratch. Robert also runs the Austrialian Benchrest Bulletin website.
Home-Built Rail Gun — Aussie Innovation
Below are photos of one of Rob Carnell’s most amazing builds. This liquid-cooled, tension-barrel rail gun is a great example of self-reliant Aussie engineering. The barrel runs inside a coolent-filled, large-diameter sleeve, much like an old water-cooled machine gun. This is the fourth rail gun that Rob built, and the second fitted with a tensioned barrel.
Robert explains: “My railgun design has a 1.75″ barrel under tension inside an aluminium tube filled with radiator coolant. There is nearly a gallon of coolant, and the barrel stays cool no matter how many shots I seem to fire, or how quickly they are shot. The brass nut on the front rides on a nylon bearing and can be tightened to get the best accuracy. I am a believer in the ‘tuner’ idea and this seems to work for me. The main tube is thick-walled aluminium 600mm (24″) long. There is a flange at both ends. The flange at the back fits onto the barrel before the action is screwed on. The front flange is a press-fit into the tube, then there is a brass nut that fits over the barrel and screws against a nylon washer on the front flange. The Railgun’s base is aluminium and has the standard adjustments — windage, elevation and a sighter cam. In addition, there is a 1/10 thou dial indicator for windage. This allows me to zero the indicator and shoot my group. If I need to add a bit of windage for a condition, I can quickly get back to the original position if my condition comes back.”
Home-Built Action Uses Rem Bolt
Rob’s rail gun uses his own home-made stainless action, which features Panda-spec threads and a modified Remington 700 aftermarket bolt. Not bad for a do-it-yourself project we’d say! CLICK HERE to read how Rob designed and built the action.
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This 50 Cal Days of Christmas video features some fantastic slow-motion footage of a Barrett .50 Caliber M82. This bad boy pumps out some serious muzzle flash. Watch carefully at the 1:05 mark and you can see the .50-caliber projectile exit the muzzle brake and spin through the ball of smoke and flame. For best viewing, you may want to change your video settings to 720p or 1080p High Definition and view full-screen (using the video controls).
The video carries “overkill” to the max, as the shooter uses his big Barrett to blast Christmas ornaments and a snow-globe. To top things off, at the 2:50 mark, the shooter fires the .50 cal at a pyro-equipped gingerbread house. (The gingerbread shot is taken from a standing hold no less!) The results (at 3:22) are impressive — gingerbread house becomes flaming gingerbread pudding.
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Top shooters like 11-time National Champion David Tubb have mastered marksmanship by being continually aware of their physical state while shooting. This article by Glen Zediker talks about respiration and how to modulate your breathing to maximize on-target accuracy and consistency. This article originally appeared in the MidSouth Shot Report Blog.
by Glen Zediker
Elsewhere I’ve talked about what I call the “true fundamentals” of shooting. Put the sight on the target and pull the trigger without moving the sight. And we’ve talked about some of the mechanics, like natural point of aim, sight picture, and the trigger itself, that combine to assist this goal.
Holding still sometimes takes more thought, and effort, than we might realize. Shooting well is a truly multi-faceted task that shooters like 11-time National Champion David Tubb have attended to through miniscule details, like being aware of the physical state continually while performing.
Another crucial and largely unknown element is controlling breathing. Right. That thing we do to stay awake and alive. Breathing can be a calculated technique among competitive shooters, and that is because the state of the body in the framework of making a shot is a defining element in the effectiveness of the shooting platform. That platform, by they way, is you!
I’ll break it down, and then offer a few suggestions on how to incorporate a better understanding of the dynamics of maintaining human oxygen supply.
When we are breathing when doing nothing in particular but living, we’re not taking the deepest breaths we can when we inhale, and we’re not expelling all the air we had when we exhale. We’re also not breathing in and out, in and out, in and out in constant successions. We breathe in to a comfortable level. Hold that a bit. We breathe out to a comfortable level. And then we hold that state for a bit. Then we very naturally breathe in again. These cycles are on a balanced rhythm, and a relatively shallow cycle. It’s a lot different than when we’re doing something strenuous, like running.
So, to fire a gun from our most stable state, make the trigger break in what shooting coaches call “the natural respiratory pause”. That’s the state between exhaling and inhaling. From a “human machine” standpoint, that’s when the body is most calm and stable.
Breathing Cycles for Best Shooting
Learn to use the natural pattern of your breathing to experience the most effective (steadiest) hold. When we breathe normally we don’t inhale as much air as we can hold and then blow it all out, and we also don’t breathe continually in and out, in and out. Rather, we simply inhale and exhale to levels that are comfortable to us. Take aim and fire the shot when you have reached what some call the “natural respiratory pause,” or the natural resting point prior to inhalation where we are “using” the oxygen we have retained.
It’s a narrow window. That window of opportunity varies widely depending on a lot of factors, but some experience dry-firing will show you where you stand.
Vortex Optics has offered a Sneak Peak at new products for 2017. On the Vortex Blog, new scopes and a new Laser Rangefinding Binocular were revealed. For next year, Vortex will offer four new PST Gen II scopes, an affordable “tactical” Diamondback optic, and the new Fury LRF binocular.
Viper PST Gen II Riflescopes
The versatile Viper PST series can work for many disciplines — Target Shooting, 3-Gun, Hunting, or Precision Long Range. The new second generation PSTs offer many improvements, with four new models for 2017.
NEW 2-10×32, 3-15×44, and 5-25×50: Vortex offers a wide magnification range with these three new PSTs. Each offers tall tactical turrets and side-focus parallax adjustment with integrated illumination. To ensure reliable return-to-zero, all new models feature the patented RZR Zero Stop from the Razor HD 5-20×50 riflescope. Reticles include Vortex’s new EBR-4 and EBR-2C with MOA or MRAD stadia to match your turrets. First Focal Plane reticles are available on select models.
NEW 1-6×24: Now even more versatile, the new PST Gen II 1-6×24 picks up right where the venerable 1-4X left off. With a true one-power on its low end and a large eyebox for rapid acquisition, shooters can easily engage close targets. On the high end of its zoom spectrum, the full 6X facilitates accurate mid to long-range engagements. This scope offers side illumination adjustment, plus low-profile capped turrets. Inside, the same VMR-2 reticle from the Razor Gen II 1-6, with its daylight-bright center illuminated dot, is standard and available in MOA or MRAD.
Available Spring 2017
Diamondback Tactical Riflescopes
Vortex’s Diamondback series has been known for toughness and high performance for the price. The new Diamondback Tactical offers important features for practical/tactical shooters in an affordable package. This new-for-2017 scope features taller turrets with easy-to-grip knobs. The Diamondback offers generous eye relief and a new, hashmark-style reticle offering reference points for ranging, holdover, and wind calls.
Available Spring 2017
Fury Laser Rangefinding Binocular
The new Vortex Fury Laser Rangefinding Binocular combines two functions in a single, compact package. Notably, the Fury LRF offers HD glass and an industry-leading warranty. This product has a 10×42 optic plus claimed 1600-yard ranging capability. The Fury offers a light-weight, compact design with good performance at a fraction of the price of some European-made LRF binoculars. Last but not least, the Fury laser rangefinding binocular is the only of its kind backed 100% by a lifetime warranty, including electronics.
Available Summer 2017
[Editor’s Note: Don’t expect reliable 1600-yard ranging on small objects with any sub-$2400 product on the market. Most humans simply cannot hold steady enough to allow this. And there are issues of ground scatter and beam divergence. You may be able to range a house or water tower, but not something small, such as a deer.]
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What did you really want for Christmas? A new rifle? Maybe a new reloading press? A poll of sportsmen and firearm owners by Southwick Associates’ HunterSurvey.com/ ShooterSurvey.com asked, “What hunting or target shooting gear are you most hoping to receive this holiday season?” Respondents could select three items from a long list of products. The most-wished-for items were in the Hunting Apparel category, with 22.3 percent of respondents asking Santa for new hunting duds. A new Handgun was second-highest on the list, followed by a Trail Camera at #3, Ammunition at #4, and a Laser Rangefinder at #5. How do your choices stack up against the survey responses?
Note, the totals of all selections exceeds 100% because survey participants could elect three total choices. Also, since this 2012 survey was specifically directed at hunters (rather than just firearm owners), a number of responses relate to bows and archery equipment.
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The CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park will host the first-ever American Marksman National Championship January 6-8, 2017. This will be the culmination of a nationwide series of competitions for the Outdoor Channel’s new American Marksman television show. The January big-money National Championship gives amateur shooters the chance to win cash, gear and fame. The top shooter will win $50,000 and earn the title of “American Marksman”.
The American Marksman competition began in March 2016 with regional qualifiers at locations across the country. That was followed by nine Regional Championships. The process all comes to a high-stakes conclusion at the American Marksman National Championship in Talladega in January 2017. Top competitors from the nine Regional Championships are eligible to compete in the National Championship. Competitors are split into one of four divisions: Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Military/Law Enforcement, and Juniors. The entire process will be filmed for later broadcast on the Outdoor Channel.
American Marksman — A Nationwide Challenge Match
“If you ever wanted to enter a shooting competition and thought it was too intimidating or too expensive – then this is your chance to show the world what you’ve got,” said producer Michael Bane of the Outdoor Channel. “For only $20 at the local level, you get the chance to try to qualify with other amateurs in a relaxed, safe environment and the best of you will meet in a … National Championship with TV cameras rolling. The person who earns the title of ‘American Marksman’ walks away with $50,000.”
Course of Fire Remains Top Secret
The Course of Fire for the National event at Talladega will not be released until competitors arrive at the venue. Eligible participants receive a sheet outlining a list of skills to practice during the fall leading up to the match. The National Championship competitor will be awarded a check for $50,000, a prize package and the honor of being named the first American Marksman.
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Tonight (12/7/2016), Shooting USA television features the Remington Bicentennial — celebrating 200 years of continuous production by one of America’s most legendary companies. The history of Remington Arms is a remarkable story. No large American enterprise — not Ford, not General Motors — can match the 200-year continuous history of Remington. The Remington enterprise is nearly as old as the United States. This story began in 1816, when a young man, Eliphalet Remington II, wanted a rifle…
According to historians, Eliphalet told his father he wanted a gun, so his father told him to build one himself (Eliphalet had been trained as a blacksmith). And so, in 1816, Eliphalet did just that, with the help of a hired gunsmith to bore and rifle his barrel. Eliphalet then took the finished flintlock to a local shooting match. “And his gun shot well,” says Remington Historian Richard Shepler. “So neighbors and friends asked, ‘Could you make me a barrel?’ Over time there was more and more demand.”
By 1828, Eliphalet moved into a factory in Illion, New York. In 1845, he jumped at the opportunity to secure the first of many government contracts. When the Civil War broke out, Remington stayed busy producing firearms. While later in the 1890s during peacetime, Remington manufactured cash registers, sewing machines, knives and even the first successful typewriter.
Whether fulfilling government contracts during wartime, or manufacturing cash registers and sewing machines during peacetime, Remington’s story continues today, arming sportsmen, hunters and armies around the world.
Shooting USA AIR TIMES BY TIME ZONE
Eastern Time: 9:00 PM, 12:30 AM (Wed); 4:00 AM (Thur)
Central Time: 8:00 PM, 11:30 PM (Wed); 3:00 AM (Thur)
Mountain Time: 7:00 PM, 10:30 PM (Wed); 2:00 AM (Thur)
Pacific Time: 6:00 PM, 9:30 PM (Wed); 1:00 AM (Thur)
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Here’s a really good deal on a very handy reloading product, the Case Prep Trio. This versatile device features three powered heads and ships with both Inside Chamferer and Outside Chamferer tools. You can add optional accessories such as large/small primer pocket cleaners, primer pocket reamer, case neck brushes, and other 8-32 threaded tools.
This $79.99 deal at Midsouth is the best price we’ve found (the unit normally sells for $95.00 or more). Plus, if you purchase by the end of 2016, you get 100 FREE Bullets from Hornady. If you figure those 100 bullets are worth thirty dollars or so, that brings your net cost for the Case Prep Trio to around fifty bucks. Hard to argue with that. We have this tool and it’s a very welcome addition to our loading bench that definitively saves time and reduces hand fatigue.
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Christmas is coming soon. Books have always been popular holiday gifts. If you haven’t completed your holiday shopping, here are some recommended titles that should please the serious shooters and firearms enthusiasts on your shopping list. For shooting clubs, books also make great end-of-season member awards. Most of us would rather have a useful book than one more piece of wood to toss in a box in the closet.
Here Are TEN BOOKS Recommended for Serious Shooters:
Glen Zediker’s brand new book, Top-Grade Ammo, is hot off the press. Many folks believe this is Glen’s best book ever. This 314-page resource covers every aspect of the reloading process — component sorting, priming, sizing, bullet seating and more. With 430 photos, Top-Grade Ammo is a richly-illustrated, step-by-step guide to producing high-quality handloads. Unlike many reloading books, Top-Grade Ammo is truly current and up-to-date, so it covers modern practices and the latest precision reloading tools. While Zediker focuses on producing match-grade ammo for competition, this book will also help novice reloaders on a budget. It’s written for all hand-loaders — beginners through advanced. This book features a special “lay-flat” binding so it’s easy to use as a benchtop reference. To view Chapter List and sample pages visit ZedikerPublishing.com.
If you’re a serious long-range shooter, consider adding this book to your library. Relying on extensive ballistics testing, Modern Advancements contains some fascinating research results, including the effects of twist rate on muzzle velocity, BC, and precision. Other sections detail the evolution of modern rifle, bullet, and optics designs. And there is an important comparison test of chronographs. Laser rangefinders and wind measurement devices are explained in detail by contributing author Nick Vitalbo. This book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to understand the current “state of the art” in today’s shooting world. There is a ton of “hard science” in this book — not just opinions.
This book should be on the shelf of every short-range benchrest shooter. (Shooters in other disciplines will find the book helpful as well.) Butch Lambert says Mike’s book is “far and away the best Benchrest book written. Very comprehensive, it touches on every aspect of our game.” Mike’s 368-page book is dedicated to getting the most from modern rifle accuracy equipment with an emphasis on shooting 100-200-300 yard group benchrest tournaments. This book covers the most popular hardware plus new equipment offerings are covered, including external mount scopes, actions, triggers, stocks, wind flags, and more. Also covered are rifle handling techniques, note taking, tuning, bullet selection, goals, and match strategies. Mike provides many tips that will help active competitors update their own competitive program.
Nancy Tompkins is one of the greatest long-range shooters in American history. She has won five National Long-range Championships. Tompkins’ treatise is a must-read for serious Palma, F-Class, and High Power shooters. The revised Second edition includes F-Class equipment and techniques, and newly updated information. Color pictures. Topics include Mental & Physical training, Reading Wind & Mirage Shooting Fundamentals, International Competition, and Loading for Long Range. Nancy Tompkins is a 4-time winner of the National Long Range Championships, and has won countless other major events. Nancy has been on six Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach).
Ryan Cleckner is noted for his ability to explain complex topics in an easy-to-comprehend manner. Now Cleckner has authored a book, the Long Range Shooting Handbook, which expands on the topics covered in Cleckner’s popular NSSF video series. The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com.
Tony Boyer, the most successful shooter in the history of short-range benchrest competition, shares many of his match-winning tips in this 323-page book. The book covers all aspect of the benchrest discipline: loading, windflags, rest set-up, addressing the rifle, and match strategies. This is a high-quality publication, filled with valuable insights. Every serious benchrest shooter should read Tony’s book. Boyer has dominated registered benchrest in a fashion that will never be duplicated, having amassed 142 U.S. Benchrest Hall of Fame points. The next closest shooter, Allie Euber, has 47 Hall of Fame points. This handsome, full-color book is 323 pages long, with color photos or color illustrations on nearly every page.
This book by 11-time National High Power Champion David Tubb focuses on position shooting and High Power disciplines. Section One covers fundamentals: position points, natural point of aim, breathing, triggering mechanics and follow-through, sling selection and use, getting started, getting better, avoiding obstacles. Section Two covers mechanics of offhand, sitting, and prone positions. Section Three covers shooting skills, including wind reading and mental preparation. Section Four covers the technical side of shooting, with extensive disuctions of rifle design, load development, reloading barrel maintenance, and rifle fitting. We consider this book a “must-read” for any sling shooter, and there is plenty of good advice for F-Class shooters too.
Bullseye Mind (Mental Toughness for Sport Shooting) by Dr. Raymond Prior, $17.95 (Softcover).
Having a Bullseye Mind means thinking in ways that create confidence and consistency, even under pressure. A “must-read” for competitive shooters, Bullseye Mind is a mental training book written specifically for the shooting sports. The book is well-organized, with handy highlighted lists and key “talking points”. Each chapter concludes with examples from a world-class shooters such as: Matt Emmons, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist; Vincent Hancock, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist; Jamie Corkish, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist; Petra Zublasing, 2014 World Champion/ISSF Shooter of the Year; and Nicco Campriani, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, 2010 World Champion. This book has earned rave reviews from competitive shooters who found it really helped their “Mental Game”. One recent purchaser states: “This book is as though you had a coach in your back pocket…”
Many of our Forum members have recommended The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. This 146-page book, published in 2007, is a very informative resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts on Amazon.com. This lets you preview the first few chapters, and see some illustrations. Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles.
Steven Boelter’s 352-page book is a comprehensive study of all types of rimfire ammunition (including 17s and 22 mags), with over 600 photos. In a remarkable undertaking, Steven Boelter fired every brand and sample of rimfire ammo he could acquire (including .22 LR, 17 Mach 2, 17 HMR and .22 WMR), and recorded all the results. In all, Steven tested 11 brands and 137 different rimfire rounds, firing over 32,000 test rounds.
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We call them “black rifles”, but that shouldn’t refer to all the carbon and gunk on the inside. AR-platform rifles can be maintenance-intensive beasts. But some AR owners make the situation worse by not regularly cleaning important small parts, or by using too much oily/greasy lubricants in the wrong places. A properly maintained and lubricated AR15 can shoot hundreds of rounds (between cleanings) without a problem. If you learn where (and where not) to apply lubricant, you’ll find that your AR will run more reliably and the task of cleaning the bolt and bolt carrier will be less of a burden.
Here is a good video that explains AR-15 Cleaning and Maintenance. In this 30-minute NSSF video, Gunsite Academy instructor and gunsmith Cory Trapp discusses the proper way to clean and maintain the AR-15 carbine. Very knowledgeable, Trapp provides rock-solid advice for AR owners. Along with cleaning producedures, this video explains how to inspect key components and how to function-test your AR before each shooting session.
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Here’s a clever item for the avid shooters on your Xmas gift list. For the holiday season, Creedmoor Sports has created special package-wrapping paper with target graphics. The unique, heavy-weight gift wrap features Dennis DeMille’s High Power Rifle National Record Target score of 200-20x+100-8x at 200 yards. The 36″ x 24″ sheets are made from 60# stock with a gloss finish. Individual bullseye wrapping sheets cost $1.95 or you can buy five sheets for $7.95 (and save 18%).
This unique bullseye wrapping paper is perfect for presents you give to the shooters in your family. Bullseye wrap is also great for gifts a club may present to members/officers at year’s end.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Kelbly.com — 15% Off Discount on ALL Products (Today ONLY)
Looking for a Panda or Atlas action, or a complete match rifle? Here’s a great promotion from our friends at Kelbly’s. Through the end of the day today, December 5, 2016, you can get 15% of ANYthing on the Kelblys.com website. That includes rifles, actions, stocks, barrels, scope rings, muzzle brakes, Berger bullets, accessories and more. To save big, use code 15ALL at checkout. ACT NOW — Don’t delay — this offer expires at 11:59 pm on December 5, 2016!
2. Bullets.com — Bald Eagle Range Bags, $24.95 – $29.95
High-quality Bald Eagle Range Bags are now on sale at Bullets.com. These versatile bags are very well- made and durable. With thickly-padded slab sides and padded internal dividers, these bags hold their shape and don’t collapse like most range bags. We use the larger 20″ bag to transport our spotting scope and MagnetoSpeed chrono. The smaller 15″ bag will hold ammo, rangefinder, Kestrel, shooting glasses and all your miscellaneous gear. We have used these bags for years and endorse them. The Cordura nylon fabric is tough, and the zippers are high-quality. With these sale prices, $24.95 for the 15″ size and $29.95 for the 20″ size, you won’t be disappointed. A variety of colors are offered: Red, Black, Green, Camo, Navy (15″ only), and Pink (15″ only).
The 20″ Range Bag holds a spotting scope, small tripod, plus MagnetoSpeed in long pocket:
3. EuroOptic.com — Tikka T3 Liquidation Sale, Huge Discounts
Looking for a great price on an excellent hunting rifle? Here is the Tikka Deal of the Decade. EuroOptic.com has received nearly 3,500 Tikka T3 rifles, which will be sold at deep discounts as part of an inventory clearance program by Beretta, Tikka’s parent company. The Tikka T3 is a good, stout rifle with a smooth action, crisp trigger, and quality barrel. Accuracy is typically well under 1 MOA (for three shots). T3 barreled actions also are a good “core” for a tactical build. The strong T3 action handles detachable magazines, and fits a variety of third-party stocks.
4. CDNN Sports — 1911-Type .22 LR Target Pistol, $239.99
Everyone should have an accurate .22 LR target pistol. This German-made GSG 1911 22LR pistol shares the look, feel, and ergonomics of J.M. Browning’s classic model 1911 so it’s good for cross-training. We’ve tried this pistol and the trigger is pretty darn good — though don’t expect it be be as nice as a S&W Model 41. But consider that the GSG costs just $239.99. By contrast, MSRP on a new Model 41 is a steep $1369.00. For cross-training and target work the GSG is a very good value.
5. Midsouth — Burris Eliminator LaserScope with $100.00 Rebate
The Burris Eliminator III is an impressive piece of electro-optical technology. The built-in laser rangefinder senses the distance to your target and the scope’s “brain” calculates the required hold-over. The calculated aiming point is then displayed with an illuminated red dot on the vertical cross-hair. Just put the bright red dot on the target and make the shot. We’ve used this scope out to 600 yards on small steel targets and it worked flawlessly. Right now you can get a $100 Factory REBATE plus sale pricing from Midsouth. After rebate, the 3-12x44mm Eliminator III costs $1199.00. NOTE: The last day for purchases qualifying for rebate is December 21, 2016.
6. Natchez Shooters Supply — 325 Rounds .22 LR Ammo, $22.99
This Federal .22 LR ammo is just 7 cents per round — the kind of pricing on bulk rimfire ammo we used to see in the “good old days”. Act quickly, this $22.99 Federal .22 LR Ammo deal won’t last long. Each box contains 325 rounds — enough ammo for many sessions at the range. The bullets are 40 grains, solid lead.
7. Sportsman’s Guide — Frankford Arsenal Case Tumbler Kit
For just $69.99, this Frankford Arsenal Kit provides everything you need to clean brass: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Bucket, Corn Cob Media (3 lbs.), and Brass Polish. The Case Tumbler holds up to 600 9mm cases or 350 .223 Rem cases. The separator system is generous, with a 3.5-gallon bucket. NOTE: Sportsman’s Guide Buyers Club members can purchase for $62.99.
8. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $16.45
Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 2300 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.74, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.
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Cerakote is an advanced, highly durable, heat-cured coating that offers excellent corrosion resistance when applied to firearms. Cerakote can be applied to both metals and plastics, and many top firearms manufacturers (and custom gun builders) now offer Cerakote finishes as an option on their shotguns, hunting rifles, and tactical arms.
While Cerakote is not difficult to use, application of Cerakote is not just a simple “spray and bake” process. Best results are achieved when firearms are carefully degreased and surface-prepped prior to application. The video below, produced by NIC Industries, the manufacturer of Cerakote, shows the application process from start to finish. If you watch the video you’ll learn the importance of careful, step-by-step product prep. Metals should be surface-blasted prior to coating, and curing times need to be adjusted to the material type (polymer vs. fiberglass vs. metal). Cerakote is offered in a wide variety of colors. Multi-color finishes, including camouflage, can be applied by a skilled operator.
The video above shows a professional technician applying Cerakote finish to rifles and pistols. All gunsmiths who plan to offer Cerokote finishes should definitely watch this video. NOTE: Cerakote Firearms Coatings are designed for professionals and should be applied by an NIC-trained application specialist or a coating professional with proper training and equipment. NIC Industries stresses that “it is critical to follow all these instructions”.
Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Can you buy a new firearm for fifty bucks? Yes you can, when the “firearm” is a stripped lower receiver, the key component of an AR15-type rifle. With an AR lower, you can build your own “black rifle” project, which could be a gun for Service Rifle competition, or a specialized varmint-slayer, or a rig for 3-Gun matches — the choice is yours. Once you have the serialized lower (which must be transferred through an FFL dealer), you can build your own project as you see fit, with the trigger, barrel, stock, handguards, and sighting system of your choice.
Right now Sportsman’s Guide is offering a great deal on Anderson stripped lower receivers. You can purchase the lower for just $49.99 ($44.99 for Buyer’s Club Members). These are good-quality lowers, with correct mil-spec dimensions, and precision-machined to ensure drop-in installation of aftermarket components. Crafted from 7075-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum forgings, the made-in-USA Anderson lowers have a hard-anodized black finish. The take-down pin has a standard 0.250″ diameter.
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It’s December already. That means winter has definitely arrived — no doubt about it. If you plan to put away all or some of your firearms for the winter, here are TEN Tips for winterizing your firearms.
1. Bore Cleaning and Coating — Clean your barrels and neutralize any solvents you may have used. Then run a couple patches with a corrosion-fighter down the bore. We recommend Eezox or CorrosionX. Eezox leaves a glossy dry film shield with excellent rust resistance. CorrosionX is more like a conventional oil, but with special anti-rust additives. Other products may work well too. Just be wary of the “all in one” products that have a strong solvent, and don’t use any fluid that contains ammonia — this can actually promote corrosion. Here’s a test of various anti-corrosion products: Rust Block Comparison Test.
2. Crown Inspection — After cleaning the barrel, inspect the crown with a magnifying glass. If you see any unusual wear, abrasion, or “shark’s teeth” at the very outer edge of the rifling, make a note — it may be wise to recrown the barrel next spring. Before you place your rifle in the safe, we recommend putting a piece of electrical tape or blue masking tape loosely over the muzzle to protect the crown. This is just to protect the delicate crown during handling — you are NOT trying to seal off the bore.
3. Optics Storage — If your gunsafe is crowded, you may wish to remove the optics and rings from your rifles before winter storage. You can use a white crayon to mark the ring position (on the rail) for next season. We recommend that you store your optics inside a warm part of your house, where temperatures and humidity are relatively stable.
4. Trigger Group — Inspect your trigger assembly. Trigger housings accumulate dirt, grit, and oily gunk over the course of a season. If you have some basic mechanical skills, you may wish to remove the trigger from the hanger and clean it per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Don’t flood it with any kind of thick oil.
5. Bolt and Action – Clean the gunk off your bolt and raceway in your receiver. Put a thin coat of anti-corrosion product on the bolt, and re-grease the lugs and camming surfaces as recommended by the manufacturer. Don’t forget the fasteners and pins on the action and scope rail — these may not be stainless even if you have a stainless steel receiver.
6. Use Thin Gloves — When oiling firearms during the winterization process, we recommend you wear thin latex or nitrile gloves. This will prevent you from leaving skin oils and acids that can actually promote corrosion. This will also protect YOU from any chemicals in the corrosion-blockers you put on your guns.
7. Applying Surface Protectants — For blued firearms, put Eesox or other rust-fighter on a cloth and wipe the barrel and exposed metal. Eezox works best with a couple light coats. Don’t forget iron sights, bottom metal, trigger guards, bolt handles, and sling swivels — they can rust too if not protected. Use Q-Tips or small swabs to reach small, internal parts.
8. Use Gun Sacks — We put rifles and pistols in Bore-Store Gun sleeves. These thick, synthetic-fleece sacks cushion your guns, preventing nicks and scratches. The breathable fabric wicks away moisture, and the fibers are coated with corrosion inhibitors to help fight rust. Bore-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes, so you can find something to fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 32″-barrelled 50 BMG. Rifle-size Bore Stores can be purchased for $10.00 – $22.00 from Brownells.com or Amazon.com. While we prefer Bore-Stores for regularly-used guns, if you have heirloom firearms that will be kept in storage for very long periods without seeing any use, you may want to grease them up and place them in the thin, but rugged three-layer storage bags sold by Brownells. Here’s one VITAL bit of advice for using these bags. Be absolutely sure, before you seal up the bags, that your guns are DRY and that all metal surfaces have been coated with an effective rust-blocker, such as BoeShield T9 or Eezox.
9. Take Your Guns OUT of Foam-lined Cases — These common foam-lined cases are Rust Magnets. This may be the most important Tip in this article. Just about the worst thing you can do in the winter (short of leaving your rifle outside in the rain) is to store firearms in tight, foam-padded cases. The foam in these cases actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as the perfect breeding ground for rust. Remember, those plastic-shelled cases with foam interiors are for transport, not for long-term storage.
10. Make Your Gun Safe Ready for Winter — If you don’t have a Goldenrod (or equivalent), buy one. Sold as a “dehumidifier”, the Goldenrod is a simple electrical element that can maintain temperature in your gun vault. This helps prevent moisture in the air from condensing on your guns. A small incandescent light-bulb can help as well (just make sure it cannot touch any flammable fabrics or objects). In addition, you may want to purchase Dessicant packs to put inside the safe to absorb moisture. If you have an electronic keypad for your safe, we recommend replacing the batteries at least once a year.
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Rimfire shooting is one of the fastest-growing firearm sports in the USA. One of the most important rimfire events of 2016 was the NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Championship held October 14-16 at the Cavern Cove rimfire facility in Woodville, Alabama (near Huntsville). Hundreds of shooters of all ages attended this fun event.
Families Enjoy Rimfire Fun at the NSSF Rimfire Challenge
At the 2016 NSSF Rimfire Challenge Championship in Alabama, Smith & Wesson was on hand with demo rifles and pistols. See the action in the S&W-produced video above. Competitive shooting is one activity in which entire families, both oldsters and youngsters, can come together in a supervised setting to enjoy the spirit and camaraderie of competition. At the October event, attendees were able to try out the Smith & Wesson® SW22 Victory pistol and the M&P 15-22 rifle.
In this video, our friend Julie Golob explains the features of Smith & Wesson’s AR-style M&P 15-22 rifle. We’ve shot the semi-auto M&P 15-22 and it’is a ton of fun. It offers familiar AR15-type ergonomics and balance, with excellent reliability, and the inherently low recoil of the .22 LR rimfire cartridge. All that combines for affordable fun for the whole family.
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Competitive shooting is one of the few sports where people with physical disabilities and handicaps can compete side-by-side with their able-bodied counterparts. The NRA’s Disabled Shooting Services Program helps disabled shooters participate in NRA rifle and pistol competitions. The NRA’s Special Authorization Card allows disabled competitors to shoot from a modified position or wheelchair based on the type of disability or handicap.
Jessi McClain, NRA Disabled Shooting Services Coordinator explains how allowances are made: “Physical limitations may prevent a shooter from getting into a certain position to compete. For example, a paraplegic person can’t shoot from the standing position, so [he] would use an adaptive shooting position to compete”.
To obtain a Special Authorization Card, competitors can download two forms online. The first is to be completed by the shooter, and the second by his/her doctor. Forms can then be sent to NRA Headquarters along with pictures of the modified shooting position and/or adaptive device being used to compete. The Manager of the specific shooting discipline (rifle, pistol, air gun, etc.) then reviews the request. If approved, a temporary card good for one year is issued. For juniors, Special Authorization Cards are issued for several years at a time so that re-evaluations can be completed as children’s bodies change.
The medical waiver application is fairly simple and consists of two documents. The first form, the Competitor Application, should be filled out by the shooter. The second document is a Medical Form that must be completed by the competitor’s physician.
Once received, the applications are reviewed by the NRA. After approving the application, the competitor will receive a card authorizing him/her to use the adapted position or equipment. The Authorization Card must be shown to the Match Director prior to the start of any competition.
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More guns were sold on November 25, 2016 (Black Friday), than on any other day in the history of the United States (based on NICS numbers). According to the NRA Blog: “On Black Friday 2016, the FBI processed 185,713 background checks through their National Instant Criminal Background Check System, breaking last year’s record by about 400 checks. Leading up to November’s Presidential election, gun retailers nationwide reported record sales in the month of October.”
In fact 2016 has been a record-breaking year for U.S. gun sales so far. It looks like, if gun sales continue at the current pace, more guns will have been sold in 2016 than in any other year in American history. The question remains, will gun sales remain high with a Republican in the White House?
The continuing record-setting volume of gun sales after the November election surprised some experts, who opined that the Republican election victory would ease concerns about future gun control. Such fears certainly drove gun sales in the first three quarters of 2016 as most “experts” predicted that Hillary Clinton would be the next President, and that she would push for restrictive gun laws.
Fast and Furious — FBI Processes Three NICS Checks Per Second
On Black Friday 2016, NICS Background Check processing topped Black Friday 2015 when the previous single-day record of FBI-processed gun transactions was set. In fact, so many Americans lined up to purchase firearms on Black Friday 2016 that the FBI was processing three background checks every second.
Think about that — three gun sales per second. That’s triple the normal rate of gun sales. The website The Blaze reported: “The typical Black Friday boom in gun sales doubles the number of background checks handled by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), from one per second on an average day to two per second.” On Friday afternoon November 25th, that figure had reached three checks per second.
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It’s December, time to decorate your Christmas tree with sparkling lights. Maybe you should do the same thing with your gun safe…
Few, if any, gun safes come with adequate factory-installed lighting. Even if you have overhead lamps in the room where your safe resides, you’ll still find that the inside of your safe is dark, making it difficult to find small items. By adding interior lighting to your gun safe, you’ll lessen the chance of “bumping and grinding” your precious firearms as you move them in and out of the safe.
Here is a simple, do-it-yourself project that costs very little money. String LED lighting is now available at low cost. Called “rope lights” or “string lights”, these are strings of LEDs in lengths of plastic tubing. Gunsafe vendors sell strings for up to $35.00 per coil, but you can buy the same products at discount chains for under $5.00. Brian J. from Virginia reports: “I just went to Wally World’s Christmas clearance section and picked up two strands of Rope Lights for $3.50 each!” He then installed the strings behind the shelves of his gunsafe, as you can see in the photos.
LED string lights draw very little electrical power and have a very long life-span so you can leave your Rope Lights running continuously in winter. In addition to illumination, LED strings will provide some warming of the air in the safe, which helps prevent rust by raising the dew point. We still recommend that you use a GoldenRod or similar warming unit, placed at the bottom of your safe, plus desiccant packs to actually absorb moisture.
As you can see, Rope Lights provide a great lighting solution that illuminates even the small dark corners of internal shelving units. Rope Lights are easy to install. Just string the lights behind your shelves. Most safes come with a pre-drilled hole in the bottom for a dehumidifier. Just slip your Rope Light power cord through this hole and plug it into the wall.
Gun Safe Buyers’ Guide
For more tips on how to illuminate your safe and protect its contents from rust and corrosion, read our Gun Safe Buyers’ Guide. The most comprehensive Gun Safe Resource on the web, this article covers a multitude of topics including lock selection (electronic vs. manual dial), fire-proofing, door hinge design, water-proofing, wall construction, rust prevention, handgun storage options, and gun safe installation.
Gun safe interior photos by Brian J., used with permission.
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This Sunday, December 4, 2016, Tom Gresham’s GunTalk Radio will feature a discussion of suppressors, aka “silencers”, “cans”, or “sound moderators”. With firearms industry experts, Tom will discuss the current regulations for suppressors, as well as efforts to remove silencers from the list of NFA items requiring expensive tax stamps and cumbersome paperwork. With the Republican gains in the November election, there are renewed calls for changes in the laws regulating suppressors. In fact, many suppressor advocates say now is the time for sound moderators to be removed from NFA control altogether, so that suppressors could purchased “over the counter” just like scopes, slings, or other common shooting/hunting accessories.
How Suppressors Work — The Science of Silencers
Suppressors are a valuable accessory for general-purpose rifles, so we would like to see suppressors legal in all 50 states. In addition, we believe the USA should follow the lead of European nations which promote the use of sound suppressors for safety reasons. In most European countries, for example, you can purchase a suppressor easily. There are no difficult barriers to ownership, onerous background checks, or special taxes. The Europeans seem to understand that suppressors protect the hearing of shooters (and bystanders), while suppressor use also dramatically reduces “noise pollution” concerns for shooting ranges in urban/suburban areas. The Europeans also understand that sporting/hunting use of suppressors does NOT increase criminal or gang activity. It is time for the USA to adopt these more enlightened viewpoints.
About Tom Gresham’s GunTalk Radio:
In its 21st year of national syndication, Tom Gresham’s GunTalk radio show airs live on Sundays from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM Eastern, and runs on more than 200 stations every week. Listen live on a radio station near you or via live streaming from one of GunTalk’s Syndicated Audio Stations. After airing live, all GunTalk Radio Shows can also be downloaded as podcasts.
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